Who do you think is most to blame for the fiscal impasse?

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    40 %
    411 votes
    41 %
    423 votes
    4 %
    37 votes
    15 %
    All of them!
    156 votes

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Mitt Romney didn't offer enough details and President Barack Obama wasn't aggressive enough, according to voters MSN Money interviewed after the first debate.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 4, 2012 4:00PM

Image: US currency © Steve Allen, Brand X, CorbisBy Karen Aho, MSN Money


Voters tuning into Wednesday's presidential debate in search of policy details didn't necessarily come away satisfied, but in the end that may not even matter.


"It's perception," said Dan Sierra, a merchandise manager in Atlanta, who, as a result of the debate, now supports Romney. "You've got two people running to be the most powerful person in the world, and so much of it has little to do with the meat of the position."


Sierra was explaining his own reaction to the debate, which focused more on the candidates' behavior and stage presence than on their words. Sierra, 56, added that he won't read fact-checking articles later. "I'm not that obsessed."


But both he and his GOP challenger flubbed key points during their first debate.

By Jonathan Berr Oct 4, 2012 1:52PM
President Barack Obama has a better overall grasp of economic issues than Republican Mitt Romney, though some experts think the former Massachusetts governor has a better handle on some topics, according to a survey released Thursday by The Economist.

Both candidates, however, botched opportunities during last night's debate to articulate their economic visions for the country.

The survey examined the candidates' views on a variety of issues, including the economic recovery, tax reform and China. Academic economists, who lean Democratic, tended to give better grades to Obama, while business economists, who were divided politically, gave the edge to Romney. Independents rated Obama higher overall but backed Romney's views on tax reform and entitlements by a clear margin.  

The GOP presidential candidate suggests a possible $17,000 deduction ceiling.

By MSNMoney partner Oct 3, 2012 11:42AM

By Bruce Kennedy, MSN Money

Just hours before his first debate with President Barack Obama, Republican  presidential candidate Mitt Romney is suggesting he might consider reducing income tax deductions to help pay for his tax reform plan.

"What we're going to do is bring down the rates for everybody, and at the same time we're going to limit deductions and credits and so forth for people at the high end," the former Massachusetts governor said during an interview with a TV station in Denver, where the debate will be held. "Very high-income people are going to have those deductions and credits come down so we can pay for bringing down the rates."


If the GOP presidential nominee fails to seize Wednesday night's opportunity, the election could be over by the end of the week.

By The Fiscal Times Oct 2, 2012 1:45PM

FT logoBy Eric Pianin

It's not as though President Obama is such a hot debater. The orator capable of lighting up an entire football stadium has infamously flubbed a few of his face-to-face showdowns – a record not lost on Republican Mitt Romney as he prepares for a debate next week that might be his last shot at reenergizing his campaign.

Hillary Rodham Clinton ran circles around Obama during the early debates of the long 2008 Democratic presidential primary season. After she joked about a report showing Obama was more likable than she was during a New Hampshire debate, she used the opportunity to compliment Obama as "very likable." Barely looking up from his notes, Obama coolly replied, "You're likable enough, Hillary," a comment later panned by pundits as condescending.


Candidates Obama and Romney are expected to address jobs, energy, international finance and Wall Street reform.

By MSNMoney partner Oct 2, 2012 1:39PM

Denver presidential debate sign, by Bruce KennedyBy Bruce Kennedy, MSN Money


At least half of Wednesday night's presidential debate at the University of Denver is expected to focus on the economy.

Jim Lehrer, the debate's moderator, recently announced the topics, which will deal with domestic policy. Three of the six segments will address economic issues. The debate will run from 9 to 10:30 pm ET.


Here are some topics we can expect:


We should brace for higher taxes, reduced unemployment benefits, less hiring and pronounced market volatility.

By MSNMoney partner Oct 2, 2012 11:19AM
US News logo

By Rick Newman

It's tempting to tune out politics and the 2012 elections. Your time might be better spent getting a jump on holiday shopping. Or knitting a new sweater. Or watching Jersey Shore reruns.


But there's one bit of political theater people should be paying attention to, the so-called fiscal cliff. This is the big set of tax hikes and spending cuts that are set to go into effect at the end of the year, unless Congress intervenes. Like much of what goes on in Washington, the drama is unnecessary and perhaps even absurd. But the outcome could zap many Americans in the wallet.


The race gap remains wide in employment, income, wealth and health, and the nation's first African-American president hasn't been much help.

By MSNMoney partner Sep 28, 2012 12:26PM

BBW logoBy Peter Coy


The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any wealthy nation, with about 2.3 million people behind bars at any given moment. (That's 730 out of 100,000, vs. just 154 for England and Wales.) There are more people in U.S. prisons than are in the country's active-duty military. That much is well known. What's less known is that people who are incarcerated are excluded from most surveys by U.S. statistical agencies. Since young black men are disproportionately likely to be in jail or prison, the exclusion of penal institutions from the statistics makes their jobs situation look better than it really is.


That's the point of a new book, "Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress," by Becky Pettit, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington. Pettit spoke on Thursday in a telephone press conference.


While perceptions of the economy and President Obama's handling of it have improved, the public also likes Romney's theme of smaller government.

By The Fiscal Times Sep 26, 2012 8:50AM

The Fiscal Times logoBy Yuval Rosenberg

Maybe Mitt Romney had a point. For all the uproar over his secretly videotaped comments essentially writing off 47 percent of the American public as moochers, and for all the pronouncements that his gaffe-ridden, or "inelegant," campaign is toast, the demoralized Republican camp can perhaps find a glimmer of hope in the results of a new voter survey released Monday by the Pew Research Center.

The survey found that 87 percent of registered voters say the economy will be very important in determining their vote, and 83 percent say the jobs picture will be a similar priority. Those two issues have stayed at the top of voters' minds, as they were in 2008, while matters such as energy, terrorism and immigration have fallen in importance compared to 2008.



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Follow Republican and Democratic presidential candidates as they battle for the White House. Explore how monetary and fiscal policies affect your finances. Get insightful analysis of the American political economy and the latest news on the 2012 election.

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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